Sophia is a powerhouse during and after school, according to her teacher, Valerie Zacharchuk. She participates and volunteers in clubs, performances and sports, all while keeping her grades high.
Her mother, Kate Milton, sees the same in her daughter at home. “She has always been that way. She has two older siblings, so it seems she learned that early. She’s self-motivated.”
The youngest of three, Sophia looks up to her teenage siblings. “She wants to be like them,” her mom says. “She wants to do everything. At home, she wants to get her homework done and help out around the house.”
Sophia has been a T.L. Reed Husky Scholar since third grade and she has been named Husky of the Year twice.
Sophia especially loves the theater, music and performing, her mom says. She was just in her eighth play, “The Little Mermaid Jr.,” plus sings in the choir and plays the piano.
Sophia’s other hobbies include reading, writing stories, finger-knitting, rock collecting and reading the comics in The Bee (especially Calvin and Hobbes), according to Zacharchuk.
At school, Sophia is a mentor to students. “If you ask for a volunteer, it is always Sophia,” Zacharchuk says. “She helps out in the Special Day class, and then comes back to help her peers when they need support with technology or academics.”
Sophia even encouraged three of her classmates to try out for the high school play. “She seems to be one of those kids who is able to see the good in everyone around her,” her mom says.
“When Soph speaks, everyone listens,” Zacharchuk says. “Peers respect her.”
“She isn’t doing it for her benefit – she sees it as supporting others. I can’t imagine where the world will take this amazing young lady.”
School: T.L. Reed Elementary
Parents: Josh and Kate Milton
Achievements: GATE program, choir, cross country and and swim team, plays piano, former chess club member, former vice president of T.L. Reed Recycling Club, head of class party planning committee.
Kyle Karle, 11, Fowler
School: John C. Fremont School
Parents: Kurt and Laura Karle
Achievements: Full of humility, humor and enthusiasm, Kyle is known by his friends as “everyone’s friend,” teacher Kathy Yager says. A 4.0 and GATE student, Kyle inspires his peers to do their best with his mentoring. He is a superior level Peach Blossom participant, a Cub Scout, a member of the Lego Robotics Team, and a Science Olympiad participant at his school.
Kyle volunteers at his grandmother’s nursing home, Twilight Haven, and raised over $1,000 for the Fresno Rescue Mission by organizing and participating in the Jingle Bell Fun Run. Kyle plays soccer, basketball and baseball and assists the coaches for his siblings’ teams.
Jackson Starbuck, 10, Fresno
School: Dailey Elementary Charter
Parent: Miranda and Jeff Starbuck
Achievements: Jackson is engaged, curious and enthusiastic, especially about environmental topics, his teacher Hillary West says. He has developed a formula for calculating a human’s carbon footprint and how much water would be used if every American ate one hamburger a month for a year. He has begun developing models to demonstrate how pollution works and plans to work on a documentary with classmates, West says.
Jackson has created care packages for the homeless, donated cans to the Poverello House and participated in clean up day at Woodward Park. He plays on baseball and soccer teams and takes guitar lessons. In a “Shark Tank” assignment for his class, Jackson and his partners created a hot chocolate flavored ice cream that was featured at Ampersand Ice Cream, and sold out in two days, West says. “On multiple occasions, he has taken a concept he learned about in school, done independent research and even used complex mathematics to solve a problem,” she says.